Ray’s Rules for Managers of People, Part 2

Avatar photo

I had an epiphany about 10 years ago when along with the other members of the senior executive of the company I was working at; I took a training course called “Management by Responsibility”. This eight week course opened my eyes to human behaviour and my own behaviour in such a way as to literally change the way I look at the world. I know that the other managers enjoyed the course but I don’t think any of them were affected the way I was with the material.
The course was designed by Dr. G. Michael Durst and instructed to our executives by Mr. Lorry Schneider, I have to recognize not only the creator of the course but the instructor also as I believe that Lorry’s style of instruction added the secret ingredient to having the message have such an impact on me.
The training delivered many important messages but a couple of the more important ones that I took away from the course go like this. You should be 100% responsible for your actions and be sensible enough to realize that you are in the position in life that you are right now because you put you there. You did all the things that were necessary to be where you are right now, be that a good place or not so good. As many of you know this is a big one for this industry, I love trucking and all things truck, always have but we are rampant with the victim mentality.
All you have to do is spend a little time in most drivers’ rooms or listen to the CB radio for more than a few minutes and you know exactly what I am talking about. People aren’t as successful as they want to be because of the company they work for, the government is keeping us down, the oil companies are keeping me from making the money I want, the shippers are screwing us all, the load brokers are all thieves it goes on and on. The last couple years that I drove I only turned the CB on when I needed directions or needed to know if a coup was open, I couldn’t take all the negativity that came at me mile after mile.
Even then I wanted to challenge all of the whining I was hearing; maybe that’s why this course I took had such an eye opening effect on me. I was smart enough to know that there was no sense in arguing with people who have the victim mentality embedded into their DNA, what I wanted to say to these folks was, don’t like the company your working for, find another one, you’re not chained to that one and if there all the same, get out of the industry, I won’t miss you, promise, the government does stupid things that are counterproductive at times no doubt, what have you done to try and change any of those things, do you even vote? Complaining sure isn’t getting much done, the price of oil is the price of oil and it’s to high, what do you do to minimize the expense of fuel, if you’re an O/O do you know your cost of fuel out to 3 decimals? At the end of the day do you focus your attention to being as productive as you possible can be or do you go about your daily toil like a robot complaining about every challenge that comes up?
The other lesson learned for me was that people are not all alike and if you want to challenge people and have them perform at a level that will help your organization succeed you better learn what motivates each person on your team. Durst broke each person into five separate categories, the Unconscious Level is someone who is not tuned into reality, this stage is usually reserved for young children, but many adults continue to go unconscious as a defence mechanism. The Self Protective Level, these folks protect themselves by blaming other when things go wrong, your misery can never be your own fault when you can lay the blame on someone else. The Conformist Level, these folks do as their told without ever questioning why, they check their brains at the door and only do what have to do and nothing more. The Achievement Level, these folks need to be continually challenged and recognized, their self worth is decided by their latest achievement, everything is a crisis and an emergency, these folks also have a sense of independence are goal driven and are productive. Finally the Responsible Level, this is the type of person successful companies have an abundance of, these folks have a strong sense of who they are, what they need to do and why they are doing it, they take responsibility for failure and in doing so they are much more resilient, they don’t play the blame game. Their self talk is “I know I am the one who will answer for my every action, and I will profit or suffer accordingly”
Effective managers in today’s companies need to understand the dynamic of the group they are responsible for, each individuals is motivated by different interactions. Don’t get me wrong a manager must deliver discipline even handily, that s not what I am talking about, I am talking about the fact that we are not all made from the same mould. We have had influences during our formative years that have made us what we are and sometimes those influence were not good, being a manger who understands this and is willing to take the time to ensure that helping your people learn, grow and to be productive could not only help them but could result in being the highlight of one’s career.
Safe trucking

Avatar photo

Mr. Ray Haight has enjoyed a successful career in transportation starting as a company driver and Owner Operator logging over one million accident free miles prior to starting his own company. After stepping down from a successful career managing one of Canada’s 50 largest trucking companies, Ray focused on industry involvement including terms as Chairman of each of the following, the Truckload Carriers Association, Professional Truck Drivers Institute, North American Training and Management Institute and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities voluntary apprenticeship of Tractor Trailer Commercial Driver, along with many other business interests, he enjoys a successful consulting business, also sitting on various Boards of both industry associations a private motor carriers. He is also Co-Founder of StakUp O/A TCAinGauge an online bench marking service designed to assist trucking companies throughout North America focus on efficiency and profitability within their operations.

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.


  • I understand the article and think many managers could use such a course but it just doesn’t sink in for some. The one question I did have was regarding the radio, I agree with the foolishness you hear on it, but why would a fine, legal, outstanding operator like yourself care if the chicken house was open or not?

  • Thanks Bruce, Billy, all I can tell you that the world is a much simpler place to live in some regards and 20 years ago creativity was sometimes needed to get the job done, hope this was a proper reply to your comment.

  • What changed ? Why is “creativity” no longer needed ?
    Also with so many unhappy drivers that you have to tune out,perhaps there are issues that are
    not being properly addressed for years.
    I submit Managers have dropped the ball on labour relations they tune out and call them whiners.
    Posted by: meslippery | November 11, 2010 02:36 PM

  • Professional development is the key to success. Teachers have inservice, Doctors attend symposiums, tradespersons have upgrading and learning centres to attend for new equipment and technology through union schools and community colleges and Managers have topic specific courses available at all times. Ray I agree, knowing your people and what motivates them is very important, but without continuing education being implemented, a persons self-esteem tends to drop. Also, if we continue to do things the same today as yesterday, it will become boring and a lack of interest will increase within a person. (and we won’t have sliced bread)
    What really needs to happen is a complete CHANGE needs to take place in the transportation industry: PROFESSIONAL DRIVER well MANDATE “PROFESSIONAL” Every class 1 driver should be made to attend a college to acquire there class 1 license and upgrading should be mandatory. For example A Defensive Driving Course must be completed every 2 years in order to stay current with policies, procedures and rules and regulations. If the recognized DDC is not complete after 2 years and then elapses for another 2 years. The driver will be required to be road tested again, with or without over the road experience during the 4 year lapse. We need to keep in mind driver turn over. Some of these individuals leave the industry and then comeback two – three years later and most companies will hire them because of the shortage and hey “driving a truck is like a bike no one forgets how to do it!” But, we can all agree policies change for reasons, but no encourages the driver to change and no one ever takes the time to example to them the importance of the change or what the ramifications will be if they do not want to change.
    Again CSA 2010, Some companies are only NOW giving their drivers training on it, but if someone had to take the initiative to begin the training on it and provide updates to the drivers as changes took place over the last 2 years, most of the driver would have started to make their CHANGES, But to little to late. I believe we are an industry that is reactive when there is ample opportunity to be proactive in changing behaviors in individuals. I wish we all could be like a chameleon, but we need time to change and especially our behaviors.
    Thank you Ray for allowing me an opportunity to share my thoughts
    Les Howlett